First opened in 1986, the museum was quickly filled up with more antique hair art collections. This was attributed to Leila’s commitment to hair and growing passion in the art collection. Later in 2005, the museum moved to a new, bigger location to accommodate Leila’s thriving and increasing number of collections.
Dating back to the Victorian Period from 1800 to 1900, most hair collections in the museum are made up of tightly-woven and colorful hair strands, or hair wreaths that represent families.
The wreaths are fixed onto a mat board material with tucked in frames. Hung salon-style, the wreaths are placed one on top of another with little space left between them.
With a personal, private, sacred, and mausoleum like appearance, the museum doesn’t look as if it’s meant for an audience.
Birth and death dates of individuals are inscribed on some of the wreaths.
Other wreaths feature markers and family names, showing whom each hair belongs to. A look at the hair art in gold frames makes it difficult not to feel stuck in a world of the undead. You get lost somewhere between aversion and attraction.
Are the antique hair art collections weird or amazing? Many museum visitors get lost between the two.
The rest of the museum space is filled with glass cases displaying all kinds of hair jewelry.
French and English jewelers in the Victorian era marketed hair jewelry as a memento, meaning a way to always have a lost loved one with you.
During the Civil War, it was common for husbands in the United States to leave a lock of hair with their wives whenever they left for war. However, this sentimentality faded in the 19th century.
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- David Remfry – Heat Of The Night (1942)
- José Ferraz de Almeida Júnior – Reading (1892)